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Constitutional Economics

Information and documents concerning the course "Constitutional Economics" in Summer Term 2010.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker

Institute for General Economic Research
Section for Economic Policy



Time: Thu. 11 - 13h c.t.
Place: Room 2121


Time: Mo. 14-16h c.t.
Place: Room 3042

Supplementary Tutorials

  • General Group: Wed 8-10 h c.t., Room 1222
  • NBS Group: Thu 8-10 h c.t., Room 1137


Lecture: First semester week.
Tutorial: Second semester week.
Supplementary Tutorials: Third semester week.

Target Group

This course is designated for first-year IMP-Students (Master of Economics and Politics), Diploma-Students (Hauptstudium) and students of other faculties (Magister).


IMP, Diploma (creditable to Pflichtfach "Wirtschaftspolitik: Ordnungspolitik" and Pflichtwahlfach "Ordnungs- und Wettbewerbspolitik") and other students: 6 Credit Points (exam including tutorial).


Sarah Jamil
Room: 2430
E-mail: sarah.jamil@vwl.uni-freiburg.de
Office hours: On appointment




Supplementary Tutorial:

Outline and References


  1. Introduction
  2. The constitutional perspective in economics
    1. Constitutional and orthodox view of economics [3,4,6,8]
    2. The methodological hard core of constitutional analysis [4]
    3. Constitutional economics as a part of modern political economy [3,4,14]
    4. The logic of constitutional constraints [3,4,6,14]
    5. Constitutional design and constitutional reform [2,9,10,13]
    6. Constitutions as social contracts [10,12,13,14]
      6.1 Explicit and implicit contracts
      6.2 Complete and incomplete contracts
    7. Normative and positive constitutional economics [1,4,9,11,13,15]
      7.1 Emergence and stability of constitutions
      7.2 Economic effects of constitutional rules
      7.3 'Optimal' constitutions
  3. Applications
    1. Constitutional design of democratic institutions [1,7,10,14]
    2. Fiscal constitutions [3]
    3. Constitutional rules for market regulation [5,13]
    4. Constitutional change and rent-seeking [8,14]
    5. Economic policy consequences of constitutional arrangements [5,15]


  • Acemoglu, D., Robinson, J.A.: Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Cambridge 2006.
  • Bailey, M.J.: Constitution for a Future Country, Basingstoke et al. 2001.
  • Brennan, G., Buchanan, J. M.: The Power to Tax, Cambridge et al. 1980.
  • Brennan, G., Buchanan, J. M.: The Reason of Rules, Cambridge et al. 1985.
  • Buchanan, J. M.: The Constitution of Economic Policy, in: American Economic Review 77 (1987), 243-250.
  • Buchanan, J. M.: The Limits of Liberty, Chicago 1975.
  • Buchanan, J.M., Tullock, G.: The Calculus of Consent, Ann Arbor 1962.
  • Cooter, R.D.: The Strategic Constitution, Princeton/N.J. et al. 2000.
  • Dixit, A.K.: The Making of Economic Policy, Cambridge/Mass. 1996.
  • Gersbach, H.: Designing Democracy, Berlin et al. 2005.
  • Greif, A.: Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy, Cambridge 2006.
  • Hardin, R.: Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy, Oxford 1999.
  • Laffont, J.-J.: Incentives and Political Economy, Oxford et al. 2000.
  • Mueller, D.C.: Public Choice III, Cambridge 2003.
  • Persson, T., Tabellini, G.: The Economic Effects of Constitutions, Cambridge/ Mass. 2003.

Supplementary articles will be announced.

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